The Feel Good Effect is a series exploring the habits, tactics and mindsets that you can use in your real life to feel good, everyday.
How it works: Each week I adopt a new Feel Good practice and trial it in my own life for 2 weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks I share what I did, how it went, and the Feel Good Effect.
Feel Good Week 1: 3 Grateful Things
Feel Good Practice
Write down 3 things I’m grateful for each day.
3-5 minutes each day.
Minimal. Just a designated place to record the list each day.
Nothing, as long as the list is recorded electronically or in a currently owned journal.
Otherwise, between $8 to $20 if purchasing a designated gratitude journal.
Why I Tried It
We all have good things and bad things that happen in our lives.
Gratitude amplifies our enjoyment and appreciation of the good, which research has shown to not only improve mood, but to also improve overall life satisfaction.
It turns out that when we intentionally recognize and think about all of the good things (and good people) in our life it actually makes our life better.
My Feel Good Experience
I knew I could create a document on my computer or note on my phone to create a gratitude list, but as I spend too much time on devices as it is, I decided to place an order for a blank paged journal.
When the journal arrived I cracked it open and stared at the blank pages.
There’s something both inspiring and intimidating about all that blank space, so I decided to write in the dates for the next two weeks, leaving space for 3 grateful things under each date.
Having the dates written in gave me a little more structure, and served as a prompt so that I didn’t forget to write 3 things each day.
Originally I set out to write the 3 things each morning, but this practice proved to be more challenging than I thought.
First I placed the journal next to my bed, in the hopes that I’d jot down my grateful list upon waking. Um, that definitely did not happen.
After multiple days of forgetting to write the list until the last possible moment, I scheduled time at the beginning of my work day.
I found that adding the gratitude list into my morning work flow made it easier to remember.
At first writing 3 things seemed daunting, as if I had to reflect on the deepest gifts of my life.
To take the pressure off, I decided to focus instead on the tiny details of everyday life, the things that add goodness but that can be taken for granted or missed in the daily grind.
3 Grateful Things: The List
Streaming music while working
Husband who makes homemade pancakes
Elle laughing in her sleep in the morning
Light coming through the window filtered by bamboo leaves
Grandma and Elle art time
Cozy, soft, comfortable bed
Husband who gets up first to make coffee
Warm, cozy jacket
Elle holding my hand on the way into school
Internet at home
Flexible work hours so I can pick Elle up from school
Fresh, clean water
Talking to my lifelong best friend about life and kids and everything else
Views of the river with the sun sparkling off the surface
Strong legs to walk and hike with
Working from home
Listening to my favorite podcasts
Living so close to my mom and dad
Elle’s school (and that she likes going to school in the morning)
Living in Portland
Having a washer and dryer at home
My slow cooker (and having dinner waiting at the end of the day)
Bedtime snuggles with Elle
Even though writing 3 grateful things each day only takes a few minutes, creating space to make it a daily habit was a bit challenging.
Thinking of new things each day was also challenging at first. I could think of the big things: family, health, etc., but thinking beyond the large categories was difficult at first.
I found that focusing on the small details of life make thinking of grateful things so much easier.
Feel Good Effect
I noticed a Feel Good Effect in just 2 weeks of writing 3 grateful things. Specifically, I noticed that within just a few days my mind started noticing grateful things throughout the day.
Instead of focusing on the typical complaints and negativity that sometimes creeps in, I found that I was finding dozens of little grateful things throughout the day, which really helped me feel good each day.
I should note here that during this 2 week period I received some news from my doctor that was rather upsetting, and spent a few days in a dark mood.
Despite the negative feelings I experienced during this time, finding things to be grateful helped lift my spirits (if ever so slightly) and helped me keep some perspective on all the good in my life.
Overall Feel Good Effect: High
Is gratitude journaling a daily Feel Good practice for you? How do you incorporate it into your routine? What positive effects have you experienced as a result?